Cancer-Killing Viruses Have Finally Arrived

Viruses normally seem like evil little germs; they often invade our bodies’ cells and hijack their inner machinery to mass produce viral invaders, which eventually destroy their host cells as they bust out to besiege more cells. The process repeats ad nauseam. But what if that wicked master plan could be twisted to do our bidding? What if viruses only invaded cells we wanted them to kill—like cancer cells?

…the Food and Drug Administration approved the first viral-based cancer therapy.

Source: Cancer-killing viruses have finally arrived

There’s some interesting combination therapies in the works for a variety of different tumor sites that are suggesting substantially improved response rates compared to using just one of the therapies alone. Expect to see initial read outs of these new trials in the next 2 years or so.

Antioxidants May Lead to Cancer Spread, Study Says

Since the term “antioxidants” made the leap from the realm of biochemistry labs and into the public consciousness in the  1990s, Americans have come to believe that more is better when it comes to consuming the substance that comes in things like acai berries, green tea and leafy veggies.

A provocative new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature raises important questions about that assumption.

Source: The latest study about antioxidants is terrifying. Scientists think they may boost cancer cells to spread faster.

This article leaves off a couple of important points on the research

  1. Anti-oxidants increase the rate at which metastases form, and do not appreciably affect the growth of the primary tumor.
  2. The study focused on melanoma xenografts only, some of which are highly metastatic. This will probably apply to other kinds of cancer as well, but that needs to be more fully investigated.
  3. N-acetylcysteine isn’t just an antioxidant.

Here’s the journal article itself (behind a paywall).

A “Base Tan” Won’t Protect You From Sunburn as Much as You Think

In a quest for a perfect tan, many people – especially young white women between age 18 and 25 – may head to a tanning salon, using tanning booths, sunbeds and sunlamps to kick-start their tan. Others (including people who are more prone to burn instead of tan) may head to the salon to slowly develop a “base tan,” with the mistaken belief that it will prevent a sunburn. For many consumers of indoor tanning salons, this approach offers what they believe to be a safer alternative to outdoor tanning. But here’s the thing: indoor tanning is just as damaging to your health as lying out in the real sun.

Source: Think indoor tanning is a safer alternative to sitting in the sun? Think again

It’s no joke – a woman posted selfies demonstrating what it looks like.  And it does not matter what colour your skin is.  I found a good explainer here from the Skin Cancer Foundation. The darker your skin, the higher natural SPF you have to start with. The question of skin cancer risk gets kind of complicated, and it’s not just about sunlight, but the bottom line is they recommend sunscreen for everybody.

Truth be told – Eating your vegetables will give you a better tan than fake baking.  Mine faded over time, but did last into the summer.

Doctors Hail ‘Spectacular’ Cancer Breakthrough

The results of new cancer drugs trials have been hailed as spectacular, with one expert claiming the potential for a cure for the disease is “definitely there”.

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system to attack cancerous cells, proved so effective that in one British-led trial, more than half of patients with advanced melanoma saw tumours shrink or brought under control, according to researchers.

The trials, a number of which have been presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual conference in Chicago, could herald a “new era” for cancer treatments.

Source: Doctors Hail ‘Spectacular’ Cancer Breakthrough

Hold your breath for the cost.  Only one of the medications had a price stated in the video – the other I expect is being priced in the wake of new popularity.  I understand that there’s a lot of money going into researching medications – lots aren’t used for their original intention.  And melanoma is not the most common skin cancer, and five year survival rates are very high…

The second part to the news about the medication is the medication does not cure the cancer.  Someone could be on the medication for the rest of their life…